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Why We Need To Destroy Misogyny ‘Like It Destroyed Jisha’

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By Jason Jayology:

Protesters carry placards as they shout slogans during a protest to mark the first anniversary of the Delhi gang rape, in New Delhi December 16, 2013. A 23-year-old woman was gang-raped on a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012, beaten and then pushed out onto the street along with her male companion. She died two weeks later amid an outpouring of anger across India. Four men were sentenced to death while a teenager was sentenced to juvenile custody. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (INDIA - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST ANNIVERSARY) - RTX16KU9
Image credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi.

The largest genocide happening right now is femicide. The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide must be expanded to include femicide. It is by this extension that the entire global system should be indicted.

In such an expansion, the entire global system of justice must be redefined proactively.

In such expansion, when the letter of the law everywhere lives up to the meaning of the value of women’s rights as defined by a society, a culture, a nation, an economy, a global economy, living up to the individual value of every single girl and woman, we will shatter caste violence, racist violence, violence against Indigenous and Tribal peoples, violence against Aboriginal peoples, violence against Trans and Non-binary identities, Islamophobia, economic violence, environmental violence.

In expanding this indictment to every institution that upholds this violent system, we shatter the bromidic drivel of commercial media and commercial journalism, and redefine truth.

In expanding this indictment we shatter the commercial industries that undermine the mental well-being, the physical well-being, the body and diverse bodies that shape the narratives of humanity.

In expanding the adjudication we set fire to the invisible flags wavering under the supranational supremacist arbitration of dumping colonial outgrowths of social-Darwinist exploitation on capitalistic markets justifying the political corruption of looting the people’s waters, of polluting the people’s waters, of looting the people’s lands, and destroying the people’s lands. In such an expansion we can shatter the neoliberal colonial flag of ‘futures indexes’ and food price speculations inducing famine and poverty. In so doing we shatter the predatory lending schemes and housing takeovers, the gentrification, and segregation exiling and targeting of people in poverty.

We must now rewrite the definition of genocide to incorporate femicide in the name of Jisha. What justice may Jisha have in this life? The only justice she may have is us, globally, in the value of her life, and in opposition to the misogyny that destroyed her aspiring life, destroy misogyny once and for all. We must destroy it like it destroyed the Jisha before.

What justice can there be for the breath we breathe now that she will not inhale and exhale into the dream that was her life’s vision, the laughter stolen, the pain she triumphed, the ardour of her labour, the belief she held steadfast to so that tomorrow may be better than today, and now that that tomorrow has been shattered forever.

Now, we must make sure that tomorrow, that tomorrow, that tomorrow when police arrive and tell the next of kin that there will never be another tomorrow, must end, and it will not end until we shatter man’s perimeters, and anoint ourselves in the history of women who have been the front lines of man’s omission of history.

Today, as people are marching to the echoing mourning for Jisha, a morning devoid of her being, St. Cruz MLA has been charged with rape in Goa.

This morning, as people are mourning for a woman who may not have even been noticed the day before, we remember the murder of Delta Meghwal.

You ask where the women are in politics. Where are the lawyers, the professionals, the teachers, the artists, the policewoman, the soldier? They are dying. They are being targeted because they are women. They are being targeted because targeting them as women of the Dalit caste, or because of their melanin, or that they are tribal, because it happened at a university, or the respectability of their family, because it was done by a cop, a soldier, a university professor, a child soldier, because it happened in Kibera, because it was in Detroit, because it was in South Chicago, Dharavi, because she was Palestinian, because of her sexual past, because it was at school, because of what she was wearing, or what she wasn’t wearing, because she was a lesbian, because she was trans, have served as a pass for man’s impunity.

A runaway girl escaping the brutality of her home runs straight into three men in Noida, three men who brutally gang-rape her. Why wasn’t there a place for her to go? Where did that ‘investment’ go? Why are women who run away approached by pimps hours after they escape the brutality of their homes as minors? Why is it the same story in New York City? Where did the investment go? Why are pimps celebrated? Why are trans runaways enrolled in the system the moment they escape the brutality of their homes? Why are trans people of colour, Black and every shade of melanin across a spectrum of identities marked for death on the streets?

Yuyun was raped and murdered on her way home from school in Indonesia. You ask why girls aren’t in school? It is because of exploitation. It is because their bodies are exploited. It is because the economy is exploited. It is because politics serves as a means to justify this exploitation until there is no resource left to end exploitation.

At Rhodes in South Africa women protesting the rape and impunity of fellow students were shot at with rubber bullets a week ago. ‪#‎RapedbyMorehouse‬ at historically black colleges and universities don’t even get column inches in the New York Times, nor soundbites on the neoliberal commercial mainstream media. Why are women raped in colleges across the planet? Why are women at universities in India told to be back in their dorms and locked in before men?

A woman seeking asylum in Australia fleeing an undisclosed country in Africa was brutally raped and impregnated in the illegal detention center at Nauru, and despite this brutality in which she sustained severe psychological and neurological damage, she was refused a transfer to Australia by senior Australian officials to a medical facility despite the expert advice of medical professionals. Whistleblowers in the Cologne police have leaked reports that they were told to omit the words ‘rape’ and ‘gang-rape’ from their initial reports on New Year’s Eve of gender-targeted brutality scapegoated unto the collective identity of refugees. On that night over seven hundred women were assaulted.

All across the United States women are raped in universities with impunity. Women are raped by celebrity athletes and the only reason it is a story is because they are celebrity athletes.

Men, we need to be self-aware of misogyny. We need to shatter misogyny. We need to challenge the instruments of misogyny. We cannot be reductive and censure or censor misogyny, banning free speech, telling girls and women what to wear and not wear, where to go and not go, what time to be home. We can, though, become actively self-aware and burn our privilege in combating misogyny inwardly to create a misogyny-free society outwardly. We can create a mutual cooperation of bystander intervention that speaks up against misogyny when we see misogyny. We can work with women across the spectrum of every identity of being until we shatter misogyny by uprooting caste, race, homophobia, Islamophobia, and every other self-internalised fear, till we end the virile co-opting of the word courage, and redefine ourselves in the true courage that women face every time they open or close a door.

We must undermine the very essence of the madness of misogyny and dismantle patriarchy everywhere not to define history for all mankind, but to redefine mankind for the history of all humanity.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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